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Saturday, March 13th, 2010. tags: , , ,

zotero is a wonderful, life saving bibliographic and note-taking tool.

i can emphasize that as much as possible, or you can check it out for yourself, install it in everyone’s favorite open source browser, and see how much it changes your citation life. with the VUE addon, you can also become a newfangled levi strauss.

there are limits, however, to what zotero is able to currently do with its tagging features, which is where i got interested while preparing my bibliographies recently. with a tool like the zotero report customizer as my inspiration, i tried my hand at generating a list of tags that i could then build into a tag cloud.

first, you have to export your tags into something useful. zotero runs on sqllite, a sql-based, but local running, database engine. download a client (either at the sqlite page or google’s tool (though i found the command line version to be better) and get a list of your tags exported with something like:

SELECT name, COUNT(*) AS count FROM itemTags NATURAL JOIN tags WHERE libraryID IS NULL GROUP BY name

you’ll get something that looks like this (but less jargony?):

"""world music""",5
3rd-world-ism,4
abandonment,3
abolition,2
abstraction,1

to be continued shortly i promise as i set this blog up